Two French authorities, the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), a stock market regulator, and the Prudential Control and Resolution (ACPR), the supervisory body for the banking and insurance sector, warned citizens in France against dealing with unauthorized entities offering investments in foreign exchange and crypto asset derivatives on Wednesday.

This is coming two days after AMF issued a warning to retail investors in the country against fraudulent offers to buy certain listed shares at preferential prices.

Both authorities in a joint statement obtained by Finance Magnates said they regularly update their black list of websites identified as offering investments in the foreign exchange market and in derivative products including crypto assets, without being authorized to do so.

In the forex category, AMF and ACPR listed recently identified websites run by unauthorized entities to include: alphatradeplus.com, fmarketx.com, igcmarkets.com/fr, investarea.com/?lang=fr, kapital-trade.com/langs/french/index.php, zmarket.global/fr, www.tandemmarkets.com/fr, and www.infinity4x.com. In the crypto-asset derivatives category, however, only one website, centogx.com, was listed.

Additionally, the authorities noted that the list of all websites not authorized to offer the stated investments are available on Assurance Banque Épargne Info Service, AMF’s website and the AMF Protect Epargne application.

However, they warned that the list is not complete and is updated regularly because unauthorized entities appear regularly.

In addition, they explained: “To ensure that the intermediary offering you financial products or services is authorized to operate in France, you may consult the register of authorized investment service providers (https://www.regafi.fr) or the list of authorized intermediaries in the financial investment advisor (FIA) or crowdfunding (CIP) categories (https://www.orias.fr/search).

“If the intermediary in question does not appear on any of the last two lists, we strongly recommend that you should not make use of their services, as they are in breach of the applicable legislation and are not required to comply with basic rules of investor protection, information disclosure and claims handling.”

Europe’s Authorization Problem

In 2021, AMF added 25 websites to its lists of unauthorized entities offering investments to French citizens. The figure was a rise from 78 websites blacklisted in 2020. However, beyond France, Finance Magnates has reported similar authorization problems in Italy and Cyprus.

Last week, the Italian Companies and Exchange Commission (CONSOB) blocked six websites for illegally offering financial products, increasing the number of blocked websites to 663 since it launched its campaign against unregistered entities in July 2019.

In mid-February, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) blocked four firms for operating without being authorized by the agency to provide investment services.

Before then, in September 2021, the Cypriot watchdog had warned investors against five financial-related websites that are not authorized to operate under its jurisdiction. The websites were targeted at English and Italian-speaking investors.

Moreover, in August last year, CySEC raised a red flag against a fake website hosted in India that was impersonating its original site. The regulator had disclosed that the bogus site copied all the content illegally from its original CySEC website, falsely giving the impression that it was the real watchdog.

Many more cases have been previously reported by Finance Magnates.

Two French authorities, the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), a stock market regulator, and the Prudential Control and Resolution (ACPR), the supervisory body for the banking and insurance sector, warned citizens in France against dealing with unauthorized entities offering investments in foreign exchange and crypto asset derivatives on Wednesday.

This is coming two days after AMF issued a warning to retail investors in the country against fraudulent offers to buy certain listed shares at preferential prices.

Both authorities in a joint statement obtained by Finance Magnates said they regularly update their black list of websites identified as offering investments in the foreign exchange market and in derivative products including crypto assets, without being authorized to do so.

In the forex category, AMF and ACPR listed recently identified websites run by unauthorized entities to include: alphatradeplus.com, fmarketx.com, igcmarkets.com/fr, investarea.com/?lang=fr, kapital-trade.com/langs/french/index.php, zmarket.global/fr, www.tandemmarkets.com/fr, and www.infinity4x.com. In the crypto-asset derivatives category, however, only one website, centogx.com, was listed.

Additionally, the authorities noted that the list of all websites not authorized to offer the stated investments are available on Assurance Banque Épargne Info Service, AMF’s website and the AMF Protect Epargne application.

However, they warned that the list is not complete and is updated regularly because unauthorized entities appear regularly.

In addition, they explained: “To ensure that the intermediary offering you financial products or services is authorized to operate in France, you may consult the register of authorized investment service providers (https://www.regafi.fr) or the list of authorized intermediaries in the financial investment advisor (FIA) or crowdfunding (CIP) categories (https://www.orias.fr/search).

“If the intermediary in question does not appear on any of the last two lists, we strongly recommend that you should not make use of their services, as they are in breach of the applicable legislation and are not required to comply with basic rules of investor protection, information disclosure and claims handling.”

Europe’s Authorization Problem

In 2021, AMF added 25 websites to its lists of unauthorized entities offering investments to French citizens. The figure was a rise from 78 websites blacklisted in 2020. However, beyond France, Finance Magnates has reported similar authorization problems in Italy and Cyprus.

Last week, the Italian Companies and Exchange Commission (CONSOB) blocked six websites for illegally offering financial products, increasing the number of blocked websites to 663 since it launched its campaign against unregistered entities in July 2019.

In mid-February, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) blocked four firms for operating without being authorized by the agency to provide investment services.

Before then, in September 2021, the Cypriot watchdog had warned investors against five financial-related websites that are not authorized to operate under its jurisdiction. The websites were targeted at English and Italian-speaking investors.

Moreover, in August last year, CySEC raised a red flag against a fake website hosted in India that was impersonating its original site. The regulator had disclosed that the bogus site copied all the content illegally from its original CySEC website, falsely giving the impression that it was the real watchdog.

Many more cases have been previously reported by Finance Magnates.